Orr up to challenge in Detroit

March 15, 2013 at 2:52 PM
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DETROIT, March 15 (UPI) -- Detroit Emergency Financial Manager Kevyn Orr says he's confident he can turn the city around, despite criticism from the City Council and residents.

Orr, a 54-year-old lawyer based in Washington, will

begin his new position March 25, the Detroit Free Press reported.

He said Thursday he was initially apprehensive when he was approached by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder about the job, but ultimately decided to take it on.

"If we can do this, I will have participated in one of the greatest turnarounds in the history of this country, and that is something I can tell my grandkids about," Orr said. "So it's very inviting, very challenging."

Orr said he does not have any particular cuts in mind as of yet, but he plans to focus on providing better services for Detroit residents, including improvements to the police and fire departments.

City lawmakers expressed opposition.

"There is great fear among the families I represent that this is not going to fix the number of issues with services. It's not going to look into how do we bring more revenue to the city, or real structural changes that will repopulate the city," state Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Detroit Democrat, said. "The emergency manager's role is not to address those. It's just to come in, cut their way so we're not in the red anymore, and that means more harm for the people who have stuck with the city."

City Council President Charles Pugh said it's important for the council to take charge in decisions on streetlights, public safety, parks and recreation and development.

"Those questions should not be answered by someone who doesn't live here," Pugh said. "So there should be a significant role for the mayor and council, and if this person is as smart as they say he is, then I hope he would understand that."

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